Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

Dr.Manuel R. Gonzalez-Brito

Second Advisor

Dr.Ophelia I. Weeks

Abstract

Nerve development, which includes axon outgrowth and guidance, is regulated by many protein families, including receptor protein tyrosine phosphatases (RPTP's).Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor type 0 (PTPRO) is a type III RPTP that is important for axon growth and guidance, as observed in chicks and flies. In order to examine the effects ofPTPRO on mammalian development, standard behavioral tests were used to compare mice lacking the gene for PTPRO (ROKO mice) to wild-type (WT) mice. The ROKO mice showed a significant delay in reacting to a thermal noxious stimulus, hotplate analgesia, when compared to the WT mice suggesting deficient nociceptive function. In a rotarod test for proprioceptive function the ROKO mice exhibited a significant decrease in the amount of time spent on the rotating rod than did the WT mice. Additional proprioception tests were performed including the climb, step reflex, beam, and mesh walk tests. In the climb and step (place) test, the ROKO group had a significantly lower accuracy in performing the tests than did the WT mice. Thus, mice lacking the PTPRO gene showed behavioral deficiencies that reflect impairment in sensory function, specifically for nociception and proprioception.

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